Thursday, 21 April 2022 05:03

Assange extradition order issued, sent to home sec for approval Featured

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Assange extradition order issued, sent to home sec for approval Image by hafteh7 from Pixabay

The Westminster Magistrates Court in the UK has issued an order to extradite WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange to the US to face a criminal trial.

The order was issued on Wednesday night, and means the Australian is now open to being tried in the US and receiving a 175-year sentence for alleged offences.

The order has been sent to the British Home Secretary Priti Patel for approval.

Assange's legal team has time until 18 May to submit its arguments as to why the order should not be implemented.

Following the issuing of the order, Assange's wife, Stella Moris, said: "The UK has no obligation to extradite Julian to the US; in fact, it is required by its international obligations to stop this extradition."

Commenting on the court's decision, Amnesty International secretary-general Agnès Callamard said: "The UK has an obligation not to send any person to a place where their life or safety is at risk and the government must not abdicate that responsibility.

"Publishing information that is in the public interest is a cornerstone of media freedom."

Assange faces criminal charges in the US for publishing classified information that was leaked to WikiLeaks by an American soldier, then known as Bradley Manning, but now, after gender reassignment surgery, known as Chelsea Manning.

On 14 March, the UK Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Assange to hear arguments against his extradition.

In January, the High Court had rejected a request from Assange's lawyers to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, leaving it to the higher court to decide on whether it would hear a challenge.

On 10 December 2021, a two-bench High Court panel reversed a 4 January lower court verdict the same year to deny the US the right to extradite Assange to try him on criminal charges in Washington.

British District Judge Vanessa Baraister had ruled in January 2021 that Assange should not be extradited, saying the risk he would commit suicide in a US jail was too high.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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